In this Success Newsletter, I would like to talk about how to forgive with thoughts and insights from one of my books:
“Forgiveness does not involve condoning the original action committed. Forgiveness involves separating the action from the person who committed it. In other words, the deed may be bad but the person who committed the deed may not necessarily be bad.
To forgive, one must try and gain as much possible insight and understanding into the person who committed the deed. When we can understand why the person acted in this way, then it is easier for us to release the anger, resentment and pain within us. Inevitably we learn that we are all humans, and as such, we are all imperfect. And in almost all cases, we learn that whatever the person did or did not do to us had nothing to do to with us.
Of course, each case has its own unique elements. If a mother says to her daughter that she never wanted her, it could be for a number of reasons that have nothing to do with the daughter. The mother might have been young and immature, poor and scared she would be unable to provide for the baby. She could have been in a loveless relationship. She could have been told the same thing by her mother and father and so she might have been angry at the world. Maybe she was never loved and doesn’t know how to love or she simply doesn’t love herself.
I believe that all anger is a cry for love. Often when we express anger, what we truly crave or want to say is “love me.” Some people are angry at the world because they were never loved.
The more insight we have the easier it is for us to express compassion, which in turn leads to forgiveness. Ultimately, we need to arrive at the place of understanding that it is not about us: our parents did not single us out to hurt, abuse or criticize us. Nothing we did caused them to behave that way. It is simply the way they were.
Our parents and those others that have wronged us are not perfect. We can be grateful for the lessons they taught us how not to be as well as how to be. In every moment, we have the opportunity to choose love, compassion and forgiveness. Ultimately what we all want and wanted from our parents is love and acceptance. Maybe they couldn’t or will never be able to give it to us the way we want. What we do have control over is our ability to forgive, love and accept them as they are. In turn, we free our hearts, we open the way to love, to give and receive love and thus, to experience God and peace.
Forgiving oneself can sometimes be the greatest challenge of all. That has certainly been the case for me.
When I was a child, summers at the beach were special and fun times. I clearly recall how much joy I received from swimming out as far as possible from the shore. My brother and I would often swim out to the sandbar. Sometimes the water was sufficiently shallow that we could just safely walk out to the sandbar. I experienced a boyish feeling of achievement being able to stand up high in the sand in what felt to be the middle of the ocean.
One sunny day when I was about eight years old, my brother and I were playing on the sandbar, and as I looked up, I noticed that the tide had changed. Suddenly the water was rising -and fast. In a matter of moments, the water was over my head.
My brother was a few feet away. He was older and taller than me. As he came closer to me, I automatically climbed up on his shoulders. But as I did this, I was also pushing him under. Instinctively, I was trying to save myself. I remember both of us going under as I waved my hand as high as I could. An adult suddenly appeared, and we were both saved.
For many years afterward, I felt shame about this incident, realizing how selfish I was at that moment. I had tried to save myself at all costs, even at the cost of my brother’s life. More than 20 years later, I had a conversation with my brother over the phone. I was living in Mexico at the time. I started to cry as I recalled the story to my brother, again feeling guilt and shame. The funny thing was, my brother wasn’t upset at all. He had either forgiven me a long time ago or had simply never given the incident a second thought. The problem was that I hadn’t forgiven myself.
Often, we are harder on ourselves than others are. If we cannot forgive ourselves, how can we forgive other people? How could I express compassion to anyone when I didn’t know what it was since I couldn’t even express it to myself?
As humans, we are imperfect, still growing, still evolving spiritually. In my case, I had to work hard to accept that I was only a young child, and my survival instinct had kicked in. I made it harder to forgive myself because I then compared myself to my brother who I thought was a better example of love and kindness than I was. My lesson -and I believe everyone’s lesson -is to forgive ourselves for our mistakes, even those things we feel ashamed about, and learn to accept ourselves for who we are, knowing that we can always gently work on making improvements.
Another way I try to help people to forgive themselves is to ask them how they would treat a child who made a mistake or, if they believe in Jesus, then I remind them that God forgave even those who killed His only son, Jesus. In other words, there is nothing for which you can’t forgive yourself.
For me, the true experience of inner peace began only once I was able to forgive those around me, my parents and myself. Of course, forgiveness is a continuing process.”
If you would like to learn more about forgiveness and how to appeal to someone for their forgiveness, how to mend a broken relationship, read my book, “Finding God – Spiritual strategies to help YOU find happiness, fulfillment and inner peace.”
I wish you the best and remind you “Believe in yourself -You deserve the best!”
Celebrity Life Coach, Human Behavior & Relationship Expert & Clinical Hypnotherapist
Anointed “The Woman Expert” by WGN Chicago, Patrick Wanis PhD is a renowned Celebrity Life Coach, Human Behavior & Relationship Expert who developed SRTT therapy (Subconscious Rapid Transformation Technique) and is teaching it to other practitioners. Wanis’ clientele ranges from celebrities and CEOs to housewives and teenagers. CNN, BBC, FOX News, MSNBC & major news outlets worldwide consult Wanis for his expert insights and analysis on sexuality, human behavior and women’s issues. Wanis is the first person ever to do hypnotherapy on national TV – on the Montel Williams show.